Bethoyia Powell – First Officer American Airlines

It’s the challenge, the freedom, the reward, and sense of accomplishment. That’s what makes this job so amazing.

What Inspired you to become a pilot?

The truth is that I am an adrenaline junkie. Based on the subjects that I liked in high school, I was advised to become a pilot, mechanic, or engineer. I love machines and I have a need for speed; I also love to travel. My dream was to operate the fastest vehicle known to man to enable me to get to all places in the world. I first tried flying at 16. When I landed, I felt this obscene level of internal joy and wore a permanent smile that I still wear today. My instructor at the time said, “You could get paid to do this.” So, I made like a bird and I flew! “Leaving High school for Flight school.”

Where did you learn to fly?

I started flying in Jamaica at Wings Jamaica when I was 16. I then moved to the U.S. and continued all my ratings at Flight Safety International in Vero Beach, Florida and finished my flight studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

What do you love most about your job?

Wow… this will not be an easy answer, as there is so much I love about the job. Other than the crew members themselves, there is just a spirit about an American Airlines flight crew and staff that cannot be matched. It’s diverse, friendly, professional – it’s just family!

What do you love most about being a pilot?

I must say it’s the take off and landings. During the takeoff, as you increase the power, you feel a rush and somehow that power is transferred into you. As the airplane rolls down the runway and starts to ascend, you and the airplane become one – need I continue?

Then the landings… As pilots, the more challenging the landing is the more a pilot becomes excited. At the end, we re-evaluate and a sense of pride overcomes us that lasts for months and years to come. A landing takes a high level of precision, accuracy, and – as the environmental factor changes – a higher level of skill.

It’s the challenge, the freedom, the reward, and sense of accomplishment. That’s what makes this job so amazing.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

I believe that the secret to a successful aviation career is taking your passion and focusing on it daily with dedication and determination to succeed. Know what you want at a young age; you will discover this based on your activities, subjects you like, and your passion. Dream big and loud – then set goals. Your passion will propel you through your journey. At the end, you will never feel as though you’ve worked a day in your life because you completely love what you do.

Therein lies the meaning of “Eat, sleep, breathe aviation.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

With AA, the possibilities are endless. If you asked me three years ago when I started if I saw myself in management, the simple answer would have been “no.” However, I work for a company that trains great leaders. Leaders that are trained to see your potential and put you in situations to get you out of your comfort zone and grow. It’s through the continued belief, support, and encouragement from the company’s leaders that today I hold a position as one of American Airlines’ pilot managers: the IOC Duty Pilot. So in five years, I say the sky is no longer the limit! Stay tuned – the possibilities are endless with AA.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

Pilot Credentials is a user-friendly program that introduces applicants to our company and streamlines their resume. I think that is awesome and insightful for new and old pilots looking for their new home.

Marissa Colclasure – Charter Pilot & Chief Flight Instructor for NexGen Aviation

Find your story.  Dream it, write it, live it.  The sky is not the limit to your dreams, but the beginning.

What Inspired you to become a pilot?

I believe the sky inspired me to become a pilot. The way the clouds change shape, the colors of the sky during the golden hour, it all sang a song to my heart.  Flying is the most romantic thing I have ever been a part of.  There is a love story there with the sky gypsies and the barnstormers that came before us, and I love that story.

Where did you learn to fly?

I learned to fly in southern California, but I don’t remember the first plane I was ever in. I grew up in the back of an airplane. The first airplane that captured my heart was the Stearman.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of sharing my love for aviation with others. I especially love sharing flying with my children. My kids are now growing up in the backseat while I give instruction.

Where do your see yourself in 5 years?

I am currently the President of The Flight Center, a 501c3 dedicated to aviation outreach in our community. Within five years I see The Flight Center opening a hands on aviation discovery center. www.theflightcenter.org

What do you love most about being a pilot?

I love that the sky is free of judgment. The sky does not care if I am a single parent with three little kids; she doesn’t care that my hair is turning gray and each day the laugh lines on my face become more pronounced.

What is your favorite aspect of flying?

Flying is something that everyone has experienced, though they not know it. If you have ever been in love, stood atop a mountain, or gazed into the sky magically soaking up every hue during sunset… then you know the joy of flight.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

Find your story. Dream it, write it, live it. The sky is not the limit to your dreams but the beginning.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

I appreciate that there is a community that sees the many facets of flying and embraces those very different, yet very unique roles.

Jennifer Doidge, Atlas Air Cargo

 I love to maximize on life.

Jen Doidge

What inspired you to become a pilot?

I was racing boats, and there was a helicopter filming the boat races. I asked the pilot if I could get a ride, and that was the first time I experienced being above ground. I dropped out of ultrasound school and went to flight school in Chino, California. I flew a airplane before I ever got to ride in one!

What was the first air craft you ever flew?

The first plane I flew was a Piper Cherokee.

Learning how to have finesse was the biggest thing when learning how to fly. You realize that very slight movements make big changes.

Talking on the radio was also hard. It was funny stumbling over my own words to get clearances, to taxi and just talking to the tower–it was challenging. But, at the end of the day you feel so accomplished.

What do you love most about being a pilot?

I love seeing the world and getting paid to do it. That’s the whole reason I got involved–there’s never a dull moment. Meeting people on the road, seeing new cultures and experiencing what the world has to offer. I love to maximize on life.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

I usually tell new pilots that they don’t need to sign up for a school that takes them through their ratings. There are a lot of scholarships available that go unawarded. Find those scholarships. There are ways to make it without having to pay for it. Find a local airport, and start getting flight time. I also recommend getting a degree right away, concurrently with flight training.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

It’s a lot easier than anything else I’ve ever used. It was a simplistic way to get your information out there.

Jonathan Turman, FedEx

If you keep pushing and stay positive, this career can take you further than you ever imagined.

Pilot Credentials, Jonathan Turman

What inspired you to become a pilot?

I was hooked on aviation from as early as I can remember. Growing up in New Jersey, I would frequently pass Newark Airport on the way to see family. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from watching the planes take off and land. The roar of the engine and the elegance of flight always got my heart pumping. From then on, I knew I wanted to fly for a living.

Where did you learn to fly?

I started my training at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor New Jersey. Originally, I was accepted to Embry-Riddle; however, due to financial reasons I had to look at other options. MCCC was a great alternative for a starting point because it gave me the same opportunities in flight training and college courses for less than half the price.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

I love flying. No day is the same for me. I feel like I have the best office view because I can see a beautiful sunset and sunrise within the same workday. If I had to pick one favorite aspect of flying, it would be multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment–an environment that very few have the opportunity to see.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

Stay persistent in your dream. There are a lot of challenges that come with this career. If you keep pushing and stay positive, this career can take you further than you ever imagined. Also, networking and nurturing relationships can be a great help in finding an opportunity and maintaining it.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

Pilot Credentials was a much easier platform to use than others. I especially liked the section where you fill in your flight time. It seemed like it was made by pilots-and for pilots. The last thing you want when applying for a job is an error in your flight time. Pilot Credentials makes it very easy to put the important flight time down and target the company you want to work for as a pilot.

McKayla Clark, Southwest Airlines

My favorite aspect of flying….has to be the people.

McKayla Clark- Pilot Credentials

What inspired you to become a pilot?

My inspiration for flight came from my family of military aviators. My grandfather began flying in the Army Air Corps and throughout his career flew bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and tankers. My father, now a retired Colonel, flew F-4s, F-15s and F-16s for the Air Force. My desire to carry our tradition of aviation and military service led me to join the Air Force as the third generation in my family to do so.

Where did you learn to fly? 

My first experience at the controls of an aircraft was in a Cessna 172 at a tiny grass strip on the outskirts of Gainesville, Florida. I was there attending school on an ROTC scholarship at the University of Florida and was given the opportunity to get my PPL as part of an Air Force flight-screening program. After successfully completing my certificate and earning my college degree, I went on to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. I received my ATP and 737 type-rating through Higher Power Aviation in Dallas, Texas.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

My favorite aspect of flying for Southwest Airlines has to be the people; the employees I work with and the customers I work for.  I’ve never worked in an environment with so many talented people that just love showing up for work everyday. Also, it seems to me that we have the most loyal customers in the industry. It is amazing to work for a company that everyone is so passionate about on both sides of the spectrum!

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

It’s a long, tough road to gain the experience you need to get hired at the Southwest Airlines level and you definitely can’t do it without a strong network. My advice would be to start building your network early. You never know what connection is going to open up that employment opportunity for you. I received a scholarship from Southwest Airlines after meeting one of their recruiters at a “Women in Aviation International” Conference. Shortly thereafter, I was offered an interview for an FO position.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

Compared to other pilot resume websites, Pilot Credentials is incredibly user-friendly. The site makes it very easy to keep your pilot profile organized and up-to-date. It also streamlines the hiring process. Once you get chosen for an interview, the website acts as a forum to complete a majority of your pre-interview paperwork. Plus, it offers study material for ground school once you get hired for the job. Overall, using the Pilot Credentials website makes the job application process a pleasant experience.

Jamie Turner, FedEx

I saw a whole new world of possibilities.

jamieturner

What inspired you to become a pilot?

When I was eight-years-old my uncle took me into an aircraft simulator where he worked. I saw a whole new world of possibilities. Later, at the Air Force Academy, realizing my dream of becoming a pilot was the pure motivation that kept me going.

Where did you learn to fly?

After the Air Force Academy I completed Air Force Pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

The challenges I encounter everyday while doing my job; I see something new every time I fly. Also, the experience I gain from worldwide travel–it’s fun!

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

Follow your Dream! Stay Focused.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

Becoming a pilot is a journey. Journeys involve accumulating data, and any simplification of this process makes the lives of aspiring professional aviators easier.

Brian Vizzone, Southwest Airlines

There’s always something new and challenging when I show up to work.

Spotlight on Pilots-Pilot Credentials

What inspired you to become a pilot?

I remember being 12 or 13 years old. I won a drawing for a free flight in a Cessna 172. I got to fly around with my sister, mother and an instructor for an hour or so. We did some sightseeing around San Antonio and then chased around some clouds. I managed not to scare my family too much for the part where I was at the controls! After that flight I was hooked, and I knew that flying would play a big part in my life. That led into pursuing a college scholarship with the Air Force ROTC program, and I got my pilot slot and a chance to earn my wings.

Where did you learn to fly?

After graduating college, the Air Force paid for my private pilot’s license. I then went to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX to start Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, the Air Force’s year long course to earn your wings. During this four-month flying phase, we learned aerobatics and basic aircraft flying skills. I also got my first of several solo flights in the aircraft! I earned my wings after a year at Laughlin and got selected to fly the C-17A, a large cargo aircraft. After four more months of basic training in the C-17, I went to my first assignment in Washington.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

I don’t know if I could pick just one thing! I love the dynamic and ever changing environment you get when flying; it’s definitely not your average desk job! Nothing beats being able to fly a machine away from the ground and take it across the country. Each day presents you with a different challenge. There’s always something new and challenging when I show up to work. I love flying to see new places and checking out new cities. And last but not least, the views are exceptional!

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

Probably the best advice is to stay committed and persevere, even throughout the tough times. My road to where I’m at now wasn’t always easy. While pilot training was an amazing experience, it was also very difficult. But, I kept studying and working hard and was able to work through the more difficult parts of training. And I wouldn’t trade this life, to include the hard times, for any other job.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

I liked the very user-friendly interface that Pilot Credentials provided. Everything was aligned in a logical order and was very easy to understand and input information. And unlike other websites I’ve used, it didn’t have updating or connectivity issues for the database.

Matt McCort, FedEx

“That one leg from Memphis to Florida was the sole inspiration for me becoming a pilot.”

MattMcCort

What inspired you to become a pilot?

When I was 19-years-old I was working for FedEx as a package handler, and I had the opportunity to jump seat with my father–who was a FedEx pilot for over 37 years–to Florida. That one leg from Memphis to Florida was the sole inspiration for me becoming a pilot.

Where did you learn to fly?

I learned to fly at several local flight schools in the Memphis area. I then flew charter and corporate Learjets before being hired by FedEx.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

There are so many aspects of my job that I love that it’s hard to just choose one! But, that I get to experience my job with my younger brother (see Shea McCort) who’s also a FedEx pilot is a big one. Another favorite aspect is the opportunity that this job gives me to give back to the community through mentoring youth in the field of aviation. Lastly, I never have to go to work but I GET to go to work.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

Never stop working hard. Don’t forget where you come from, and always stay humble.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

It allows you to stay organized all in one spot. It also maximizes your exposure to many different airlines.

Lauren Ginn, Southwest Airlines Scholarship Recipient

Each day brings new challenges and requires a different skill set.

southwest airlines hiring

What inspired you to become a pilot?

Growing up I was always fascinated by the sky, and as a young girl I had my head forever turned skyward. One of my favorite dolls was a cabbage patch astronaut, and my favorite pastime was climbing the trees to get a better view of the clouds.

I remember watching the strong Texas thunderstorms develop and roll through with my Dad from our porch swing. I believe it was this curiosity of flight and adventure from an early age that sparked my interest in becoming a pilot.

Where did you learn to fly?

Although I always had the urge to fly as a child and I was fortunate enough to take a few flights with family friends, I didn’t really catch the bug until the end of my college education. My other interest in school was biology, and I worked for a biogeography lab on campus. I felt as if there was still something missing in my career and studies, so I decided to take another discovery flight from a local FBO. From then on I was hooked.

It seemed like everything clicked, and I knew that flying was the career I wanted to pursue. I achieved my private and instrument ratings from McAir aviation at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, and then moved back to Texas to achieve my flight instructor ratings.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

I think the best part of the job is knowing that every day is different. Although I may have flown a certain route a thousand times before, each day brings new challenges and requires a different skill set.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators?

The best advice I could give to future aviators is to have a goal and stick with it. I’ve been through a furlough and multiple regional carriers but having a goal has helped me to stay focused. It’s not always an easy road, but in the end, the view and people are worth it.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

Pilot Credentials’ ease of access has been great. The website is straightforward and follows just like a checklist. Perfect for pilots!

Natasha Hussain, Southwest Airlines Scholarship Recipient

Usually something better comes out of that path less travelled.

southwest airlines hiring

What inspired you to be a pilot?

My first real memory of having a desire to be a pilot was when I was a young girl looking out the window of the aircraft we were flying on. I turned to my dad, who flew F4’s in the Air Force and later became an airline pilot, and said

“I want to be a flight attendant when I grow up. I can see this every day.”

To this day I’ll never forget that my dad turned to me and answered, “Why not be the pilot?”

Why not indeed? That day my dad opened up my mind to the possibility that the sky really was my limit.

Where did you learn to fly? 

I went to Texas A&M for a year before I decided that I wanted to pursue flying as a career and not just a hobby. I transferred to Central Texas College the next fall and enrolled in my first flying class in addition to my normal classes. I guess you can say the rest is history. I was hooked from that day forward. I left college with everything I needed except my ATP.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?

I would have to say that every day I go to work I have a new experience. Everything is always changing; new places, different weather, different people. It never gets boring. I feel fortunate to go do a job that I look forward to and enjoy.

Do you have any advice for aspiring aviators? 

I would say that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. Hard work pays off. I believe that anyone in aviation will probably tell you that the path they took may not be what they originally envisioned. Usually something better comes out of that path less traveled. Take each step and experience as something to learn from and you will always succeed.

What do you like about Pilot Credentials?

I like that it is so user friendly and you feel confident that you have done everything correctly when you go through the pages. Those green check marks are reassuring! I also love seeing the fun pictures on top of the page of people doing what I hope to do one day.